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how to loosen hard to turn truss rod??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Juniorkimbrough, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I've got a bass that is hard to turn the truss rod when trying to straighten out the neck. When i first got the bass the action was really high, I tried adjusting the truss rod but it was very hard to turn so I just left it alone because this bass is a somewhat obscure model and I didn't want to tear anything up on it.

    What can I do to help loosen this truss rod up some? can I spray a little WD-40 down in there? any tips?

    Thanks so much! This is an awesome bass, the action is just too high and I'd love for this beauty to see some gig time.
  2. did you check any of the sites in the sticky?

    I've found www.garywillis.com very helpful.

    First you need to check if the neck is actually too bowed or not (I use the method from gary's set-up man.). If it des need to be straightened, you may need to "help" it (that's in the set-up man. too).
  3. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Yes, I've checked those sites. I know how to adjust the trussrod and general setup, but my truss rod isn't turning easily and I was wondering if there is some sort of lubricant that helps it turn a bit more easily.

    Last night I was trying to setup this bass and my fretless, the fretless truss rod turned very easily compared to the bass in question.
  4. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I might just let it sit for a couple days then try straightening it out some more.
  5. Yorkiebassist


    Dec 20, 2005
    Had this problem once. Took it to a tech and he said he reckoned some glue had got on the truss rod when the fretboard was put on, and this had glued the truss rod. He simply used brute force and it's been fine ever since.
  6. I'd for sure have someone else do the brute force, I'd be afraid I'd break something. My luck's never very good with that kind of stuff.
  7. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    the only reason I think lube might help is because when it turns it isn't a smooth turn, it's kinda like it jumps from one spot to another
  8. Give the WD40 a try, I bet it'd help.
  9. Ned Starks Head

    Ned Starks Head Yis, actually.

    Sep 25, 2004
    Charlotte NC
    You might want to think twice before using WD 40. It will attract dirt/dust in there and over time may compound the problem. Also, I understand WD 40 helps make things rust. Pretty sure we don't want that.
    I've heard some others have used graphite, or other dry lubes to help hard to turn trussrods. I'd look into that first.
  10. Do your truss a favor and make sure you loosen the tension from the strings before attempting to tighten it.

    I'd think about some sort of lube, but I wouldn't know what to recommend. Something light like a couple drops of gun oil perhaps?

    Also, after loosening the strings, I'd begin by LOOSENING the truss first. Mark the original location. I'd work it back and forth to see if it will loosen up. That might help..

  11. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I relieved all the tension from the strings originally and I turned in the opposite direction before trying to straighten the neck.

    I think I'm going to put a few drops of gun oil down in there and let is sit for a couple days then try and readjust it again.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions and if anyone has anymore please do share them.

  12. Thanks, now I know!
  13. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I agree with using a dry lubricant...if any. You don't want to put anything wet down inside the neck...just incase it loosens the glues on the fretboard or causes any kind of warping on the wood.

    My brand new G&L (at the time) had a similar problem...the truss wouldn't turn at all. I was so afraid to crank on it, but the bow started getting bad after a while. I just gave it a good heave and it broke free. Now it turns fine both ways. I figure some glue got in or, because it was new, it needed to be "broken in"
  14. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I've had similar experiences with Truss Rods, including the one on my new SX. After trying everything else I could think of I gave it the ol' Brute Force technique. It made a creaking sound and then broke free. Its worked fine ever since.

  15. remove the truss rod nut
    apply molybdenum lube
    re-install truss rod nut
    eliminates any further issues down the road
  16. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Brute forced and threaded fixtures are always a bad idea. If the nut is tight there are only a few reasons.

    1. Glue on the threads. Use a soldering iron to heat up the nut. That will break the glue bond. Back it off slowly and carefully.
    2. Too much tension on the neck. Clamp the neck straight or into a backbow. Remove nut.
    3. The nut is cross threaded.

    If the nut is cross threaded the only choice is to try to back it out with force. The bad news is it is a real pain to do. And scary for the first timer. The good news is that it is very rare that a nut is cross threaded. And the nut is usually made of a softer material than the rod so the threads on the rod will not get damaged even though the nut must be man-handled.

    IME, option two is the most likely. Block the neck at F1 and the neck body joint. Place a stiff beam on top of the blocks. A caul on the back of the neck and an F clamp completes the rig. Straighten then neck and remove the nut.

    BTW, the WD in WD40 stands for Water Displacement. As such, it is not an lubricant. The fact that it more or less fulfills this function is a matter of coincidence. But there are many better products for that purpose. More importantly, since it displaces moisture it tends to prevent rust rather than encourage it.
  17. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement Supporting Member

    WD 40 causes rust? Never heard that one. I've been using it for 30 years to, among other things, PREVENT rust and it's always worked for that. I'd be interested in finding out where you got that from. I tried spraying it down a truss rod hole once to help loosen up a sticky truss rod and it worked.
    Check this link. Some pretty amazing facts about that WD 40 stuff. )-(

  18. Cutty


    Jun 25, 2006
    I have had this problem,i removed the adjuster nut and used silicone lub,you can get it in a spray can with a extendable nozzle that you can use to spray it with,it did the trick for sure, and no more sticking truss rod when i need to adjust it,i learnt about this because my cars dash board was creaking in the hot weather, and was driving me crazy!!!i used it to lub the plastic joins,and that's been fine since too,hope it works for you,let me know if you try it,cheers.
  19. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    Lots of good and bad advice, but I think this is the best and most comprehensive post so far.

    I tried the brute force thing one time ever. My friend was showing me this old Gibson he'd traded for and wanted to see if we could lower the action.

    The neck really needed some tweaking but the broken truss rod left us less than happy and the neck even further off than when we started.

    WD-40 does not cause rust.

    I know a couple others already said it, but one bad bit of info travels a long way.